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Hillary Clinton is the Default Candidate for Democrats

In last week’s Democratic Presidential Debate, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took different approaches when responding to a question about meeting with the heads of rogue nations Noun 1. rogue nation - a state that does not respect other states in its international actions
renegade state, rogue state

body politic, country, nation, res publica, commonwealth, state, land - a politically organized body of people under a single
. The differences gave pundits something to talk about and the campaigns something to spin. Polling by Rasmussen Reports Rasmussen Reports is an American public opinion polling firm. Founded by pollster Scott Rasmussen, the company updates its President's job approval rating daily and publishes at least one poll a month for each United States Senate and state governor race on its website.  gave both campaigns something to work with—most Democrats tended to agree with Obama while a plurality The opinion of an appellate court in which more justices join than in any concurring opinion.

The excess of votes cast for one candidate over those votes cast for any other candidate.

Appellate panels are made up of three or more justices.
 of voters leaned more in Clinton’s direction.

Even though most Democrats leaned in Obama’s direction on the one question, 46% of Democrats name Clinton as the candidate they trust most on national security issues. Just 19% named Obama. Clinton’s numbers are so strong among Democrats that she outpolled Rudy Giuliani Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani (born May 28, 1944) is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from the state of New York. Formerly Mayor of New York City, Giuliani is currently seeking the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election.  on the national security question among all voters.

So, when all is said and one, what was the impact of the debate dispute on the Democratic race? There wasn’t any. Nothing happened. All the digs and commentary and spin and punditry produced absolutely no substantive change in the dynamic of the race. Clinton remains well out in front, Obama is a distant second, and former Senator John Edwards This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches.
 is an even more distant third struggling for a way to re-enter re·en·ter also re-en·ter  
v. re·en·tered, re·en·ter·ing, re·en·ters
1. To enter or come in to again.

2. To record again on a list or ledger.

 the top-tier.

Clinton has continued to solidify so·lid·i·fy  
v. so·lid·i·fied, so·lid·i·fy·ing, so·lid·i·fies
1. To make solid, compact, or hard.

2. To make strong or united.

 her lead as she has been doing for months (review long-term trends with the Rasmussen Reports weekly polling update or more immediate reaction with our daily tracking poll).

This news cycle is a pattern that we are likely to see repeated many times in the coming weeks and months. Some event or comment will spark a dust-up between the Clinton and Obama campaigns followed by a flash storm of comments and coverage. Then, the tracking polls will look as if nothing ever happened.

That’s because New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Senator Hillary Clinton is the default candidate option for the Democratic Party. She is by far the most well-known person running for President and has been an extraordinarily high profile national figure for fifteen years. Some of next year’s voters were in pre-school when Clinton first moved into the White House as First Lady. In recent history, only Richard Nixon was as well-known nationally during his run for the White House. Nobody else even comes close.

The fact that Clinton is so well-known means that there are few surprises. People have opinions about her, many of them strong. Some love her and some hate her. Her favorables have been close to the 50-50 mark all year. The number who would definitely vote for her in a general election has stayed between 28% and 30%. The number who would definitely vote against has stayed between 46% and 48%. Both figures are the highest or nearly the highest for any candidate in either party.

However, while the overall public is divided in its assessment of Clinton, the former First Lady remains very popular in the party she hopes to lead. Currently, 84% of Democrats have a favorable fa·vor·a·ble  
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.

2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.

 opinion of her.

In this environment, a modest flap over the answer to a debate question in incapable of shifting the playing field. It is hard to imagine any new information that could fundamentally alter the public perception of Clinton. As noted last week, "only a major gaffe or startling star·tle  
v. star·tled, star·tling, star·tles
1. To cause to make a quick involuntary movement or start.

2. To alarm, frighten, or surprise suddenly. See Synonyms at frighten.
 policy pronouncement will … impact the general public’s view of the race."

The bottom line is that the Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton unless Barack Obama can show them a definitive reason to change their mind. To use a boxing analogy, Obama needs a knock-out knock·out  
a. The act of knocking out.

b. The state of being knocked out.

c. A blow that knocks out an opponent.

2. Sports
 punch because Clinton will win the bout on points.

Rasmussen Reports releases a Daily Presidential Tracking Poll providing updates on the latest polling data for both the Republican and Democratic Presidential nomination. Weekly commentaries are provided each Monday on this page for the Democratic race. Weekly commentaries are also provided on the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination.

Current results are based upon nightly telephone surveys conducted on the seven days up to and including the night before posting. Results are based upon interviews with more than 1,300 Likely Democratic Primary Voters. The margin of sampling error for the weekly update is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing An umbrella term for non-paper publishing, which includes publishing online or on media such as CDs and DVDs.  firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.
Copyright 2007
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Date:Jul 30, 2007
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